Die Fledermaus - April 2001

Stunning, creative and so well sung

Die Fledermaus remains a masterpiece among operettas with scenes, music: and style that would not be out of place in the world of grand opera.

More than this, the enchanting Viennese waltz rhythms that are the trademark of Johann Strauss bring a quality of enchantment to the work.

Last week at the Churchill Theatre Kentish Opera staged a production that was visually stunning, artistically creative and beautifully sung - even by those fortunate members of the chorus who were given an opportunity to make a short solo contribution.

The show ran more than three hours with two intervals, but at the same time the convoluted plot unfolded with pace and some scenes were so full of movement and incident that it was difficult to know where to look next.

Natasha Jouhl generated a great deal of impish fun as the maid Adele and dominated much of the action with her vibrant personality and superb singing.

And Kevin Gauntlett delighted the audience with his exhibition of truly hilarious acting as the drunken prison warder Frosch.

Further truly amusing interludes were provided by Graham Stone as a humourless prison governor, Gary Coward as a notary, and James Edwards playing an eternally romantic Italian with a passion for singing arias.

Other fine performances came from Daniel Meades as the unfaithful Von Eisenstein and Adele Mason as the womaniser's unfortunate wife, while, in a role with limited opportunities for expressive acting, Susanna Tudor-Thomas displayed an eloquent singing voice that provided the perfect counterpoint to the air of boredom and disinterest shown by her character Prince Orlovsky.

Even though the part Dr Blind (the Bat of the title) is surprisingly small in terms of the overall action, John Bailey excelled as a man seeking revenge.

With the chorus and orchestra also playing a powerful role in the production, perhaps the ultimate star was director Sally Langford who introduced so many innovative aspects to the work that its entertainment value was radically enhanced.

ROY ATTERBURY - Kentish Times